Indifference of stakeholders on cyber activity

Illegal online casinos flourishing in Nepal as regulatory bodies remain unaware

KATHMANDU: Along with the increase in internet users, illegal activities on the digital front are also increasing in Nepal. Businesses such as betting, gambling, and online casinos, which are prohibited by law, are flourishing. On top of that, the indifference of the government and the administration has exacerbated these activities.

It has been found that online casinos have started flourishing in recent times, along with betting and gambling. A company called ‘Rupee Bet’ is currently operating an online casino in Nepal illegally.

Nepal Press has received information that Rupee Bet is running its business through digital wallets and large banks by ‘Peer to Peer’ transfers via ‘Local Payment Agent’.

“Rupee Bet has been operating online casinos in Nepal since 2016,” the source said, “But there are only a limited number of users. This information has also come out only recently after other similar companies started advertising openly.” 

Casino gambling and betting are strictly prohibited for Nepali citizens. However, the regulatory body’s indifference to internet use and activity has limited the ban to paper. Sources said that it would be difficult to find out the purpose for which the money was being traded as it was possible to deposit and withdraw money through P2P.

“Many companies have agents in Nepal and they carry out financial transactions using digital wallets available in Nepal,” the source said, “Agents have already sent money to the company by Hundi and they deposit/withdraw the equivalent amount.”  

It is clear from this that just like online betting companies in Nepal, ‘Rupee Online Casino’ is making millions of rupees exit Nepal every day.

Use of eSewa, Kumari Bank, Laxmi Bank, and Sunrise Bank

Rupee Bet, which has been running an illegal casino in Nepal for more than five years, has been found to be using Nepal’s own digital wallets and banks. The company, which operates an online casino business, is doing business by placing e-Sewa, Kumari Bank, Lakshmi Bank, and Sunrise Bank in the payment platform segment on its website for local payments. 

Deposit of Nepali currency in INR

Although Rupee Bet is doing business from Nepal’s own banks and making Nepal its market, it is trading in Indian Rupees in casinos and online games. Even if money is sent to the agent in Nepali currency from Nepal, it is seen that INR is deposited in the gaming account of their ‘Rupee Bet’ and that online casinos and online games are played through this. 

Transactions through P2P

Rupee Bet, which has been running an illegal business in Nepal for the past five years, seems to be making deposits and withdrawals through P2P to stay away from the attention of concerned bodies. “Agents do business using local payment platforms – e-services and banks,” the source said, adding that “Stakeholders do not know the purpose for which the transaction was made.” 

After uploading a photo of the voucher by depositing money in the banks available on the platform of ‘Rupee Bet’ website, users are told that the amount will be deposited in the player-gaming account and that the service will be available 24 hours a day. 

Rastra Bank unaware of this illegal trade

Spokesperson Dev Kumar Dhakal says that the NRB is not aware of this illegal transaction taking place in Rupee Bet. “If there is any abnormal transaction from someone’s account, the concerned bank and service provider should inform NRB,” Dhakal told Nepal Press. “Transactions cannot be done using any platform for activities and purposes prohibited by law.”

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